HALF-BACK JORDAN Lilley is the Yorkshire Evening Post’s Leeds Rhinos Shooting Star for 2016.
The 20-year-old Stanningley product joins some of the most successful players in the club’s history on the prestigious award’s role of honour.
Lilley topped a vote by Evening Post readers to decide the young player, aged 24 or under, who has made the biggest impact this year, seeing off opposition from fellow nominees Ashton Golding, Brad Singleton and Josh Walters.
Lilley’s prize – a special framed Evening Post back page celebrating his achievement – was presented at Rhinos’ awards night, held at Headingley Carnegie yesterday, by YEP competition winner Brenda Carter.
Rhinos captain Danny McGuire – a past Shooting Star winner – is full of admiration for the way Lilley has risen to a tough challenge this year.
“He has done really well,” said the stand-off, who has played alongside Lilley in Rhinos’ halves this season.
“He has stepped up to the plate in a difficult year and a difficult situation and shown a really good attitude in every game he has played.
“You can tell with Jordan, he has got it. He is naturally talented, he’s a good organiser, very skilful and he has got a good kicking game.
“He has got all the attributes to be a top-class half-back.”
McGuire reckons the experience gained during a tough season for Rhinos will benefit Lilley in the years to come. He added: “Ideally you want to bring a young player into a winning environment, when things are easy and he can find his feet gradually. But some young players have to be thrown in at the deep end, because of injuries or whatever. Some of them can’t cope with it, but Jordan has shown he can.
“He has come in and done really well in the toughest situation the club’s been in for a number of years.
“After how difficult this year has been, there will be better times in front of him and I am sure the experiences he’s had and the things he has learned will stand him in good stead for the future.”
Rob Burrow was coach Brian McDermott’s choice as Grosvenor Casinos Rhinos player of the year, with Jamie Jones-Buchanan second and Keith Galloway third.
The Cravendale fans’ player of the year was Jimmy Keinhorst, Josh Jordan-Roberts won the Chris Sanderson Memorial Award for academy player of the year and Sue Ward was clubman of the year.